By Imam Murtadha Gusau
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
All praise is for Allah. We praise Him, seek His aid and forgiveness. We further repent to Him and seek refuge with Him from the evil of ourselves and from our wrongdoings. Whomever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whoever Allah misguides none can guide him. I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship except Allah Alone, having no partner with him. I also bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) is His slave and Messenger. May the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him, his family, his Companions and any one that follows in their footsteps until Judgement Day.
AS TO WHAT FOLLOWS:
O people fear Allah and fulfill what He entrusted you with in all matters. Carry out these trusts with a pure intention and sincerity for Allah (SWT), submitting to Him and following His commandments, and intending to remit yourselves from responsibility and correct your society. Allah (SWT) says:
“O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amaanaat (things entrusted to you and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you). And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial and that surely, with Allah is a mighty reward.” (Al-Anfal, 8:27-28)
O you who believe! Wallahi, the trust you are entrusted with is not an easy matter. It is the religion, the Authority, the work and anykind of trust, the responsibility of safeguarding it, the methodology and the way. It is a heavy burden and a great responsibility. It was offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, yet, despite their high strength and durability, they declined to bear it and were afraid of its consequences. Instead you, man, have bore it for the reasoning and understanding that Allah (SWT) has created in you, and the knowledge, revelation and guidance He has made available to you. With the reasoning and understanding you may recognize things and with the revelation and knowledge you may be guided and shown the right way. For this you were qualified to endure and fulfill the responsibilities of this trust. Therefore you must attend to the responsibilities of the ‘trust’ you bore completely and perfectly, so as to please your Lord and achieve the piety, development and progress of your society. However, if you fail to keep it, the whole society shall suffer a great destruction in its body and disintegration in its ties.
O respected Muslims! O fellow Nigerians! In order to protect and safeguard this trust, Allah (SWT) has prohibited every cause leading to its ruin or even its partial loss. He therefore, prohibited the practice of bribery and corruption, which is to give money or goods or some properties to someone or forgive him from his dues for the purpose of accomplishing an unlawful gain. Allah (SWT) says:
“And eat up not another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way, e.g. by stealing, looting, robbing, deceiving), nor give bribery to the rulers (and judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:188)
Also condemning the Jews, Allah (SWT) says:
“(They like to) listen to falsehood to devour anything forbidden (i.e. Suhut).”(Al –Ma’idah, 5:42)
Bribery and corruption is a form of Suhut (possessing something by a forbidden and illegal way) as was explained by Ibn Mas’ud (R.A) and others. Ibn Umar (R.A.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) had cursed the briber and the one bribed. In different wording the Hadith says that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said.
“The curse of Allah shall be upon briber and the bribed.”
This Hadith could be a statement by the prophet (SAW) (as stated directly in this translation) or an invocation against them to be expelled from the mercy of Allah (SWT) as Satan was cursed, hence expelled from the mercy of Allah (SWT). (To convey this meaning, the translation may be changed into: “May Allah curse the briber and the bribed).”
O Muslims! O respected Nigerians! The curse of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW) is only deserved for doing a great evil and an abominable and a detestable matter. Certainly bribery and corruption is one of the most corrupting practices on earth, for it is a form of changing Allah’s verdict, neglecting people’s rights, establishing fraud and ruining what is right. Bribery and corruption is a great cause of corruption in the society and a betrayal of the ‘trust’. By practicing bribery, the briber wrongs himself, for he spends his money to gain an illegal achievement. On the other hand, the bribed also wrongs himself by yielding to injustice and oppression against the commandments of Allah (SWT). Both of them usurp other people’s rights and take the possession of prohibited property. This shall not benefit them; it shall rather harm them, harm the society and thus ruin their wealth or the blessing therein.
Judges, workers, civil savants, politicians and leaders can be the target of bribery, when they tend to favour the briber in their judgement and decisions against the truth. They do so at the expense of other people’s rights, for the sake of benefiting themselves through bribes. The executive officials may also be targets for bribery, when they neglect carrying out orders, or even worse than that, when they deliberately cease to execute verdicts, especially a court verdict against a criminal, all because of being bribed.
In employment, bribery and corruption has an impact in hiring or employing someone at the expense of another who may be more entitled. For being bribed, the one in charged may pass the answers of the test, by which the employer decides who is to be hired, to the person who is only favoured by bribery. A Hadith states something to that effect as the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
“He who gives position or authority to a man from amongst a group while another from the same group is more entitled and pleasing to Allah, has indeed betrayed Allah, His Messenger and the believers.” (Narrated by Al-Hakim with a sound chain of narrators)
Bribery and corruption can also be involved in giving contracts or implementing projects. In this regard, a tender for a project is published, and one of the bidders may bribe the ones in charge, so he takes the project, despite that other bidders may be more honest and more proficient. Bribery and corruption can also be influential during conducting criminal investigations, as the investigators can be bribed to be lenient or even negligent in their investigations in favour of the culprits.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
”Whoever amongst you is appointed by us to a position of authority for a certain salary, anything he takes beyond that shall be deemed misappropriation (Al- Ghalul).” (Abu Dawud)
Al-Ghalul (misappropriation, stealing and looting through abuse of authority) is a great sin. A man came to the prophet (SAW) to tell him that someone had died a martyr, but the Prophet (SAW) said:
“Nay! He is being dragged into the fire for a garment he stole from the spoils of war.” (Ahmad, with a sound chain of narrators)
My respected people! It is worth a moment of thinking to fathom how bribery and corruption can affect the decisions of the people in charge of educating our children. With bribery, a lazy student may be given or hinted the answers for the finals, or be allowed to cheat during the exam, then pass and take the place of another student who may be better and hardworking. This occurs because the people in charge are vulnerable to the temptation of the bribe.
O servants of Allah! O fellow Nigerians! You now know the punishment of the briber and the bribed in the Hereafter, which is to be ousted from the mercy of Allah, the Merciful. You also learned and understand how corrupting bribery can be in the society. Fellow brethrens! Should not this be a deterrent to every God-fearing and faithful believer who is also fearful of Allah’s punishment and caring about his religion and society, to not practice this evil? How could a man with reason and good sense, strive to destroy and ruin his society? O Muslims! Know that, actions can easily be taught and passed on from one generation to another. If bribery and corruption spreads in one area of the society, it will spread quickly to all the other areas, and the one starting it will be the example for every one until the Day of Resurrection.
Fear Allah, O servants of Allah, fear Allah, O fellow Nigerians, and safeguard your religion and the trust you are shouldering the responsibility thereof. Think for a moment of which is better for you; to please Allah by establishing His justice and protecting yourselves from falling in the mud of your lusts, or to be oppressors reclining to the deception of this earthly life and subsequently being subjected to the wrath and punishment of Allah.
I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the outcast.
Allah (SWT) says:
“O you, who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (SAW), he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e., he will be saved from the Hell-fire and will be admitted to Paradise). Truly, We did offer Al-Amaanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results). So that Allah will punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the men and women who are Al-Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers, in the Oneness of Allah, and His Messenger Muhammad (SAW)). And Allah will pardon (accept the repentance of) the true believers of the Islamic Monotheism, men and women. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(Al-Ahzaab, 33:70-73)
Servants of Allah! In Nigeria, Allah (SWT) has tried and tested us with some leaders that according to their understanding the ‘ordinary stealing’ are not a corruption.
My fellow Nigerians! We must all sincerely come together, unite and forget our differences to struggle in order to rid our societies with the evils of bribery and corruption if it is true that we want our country to progress, or else…
My brothers and sisters! Know that, the menace of bribery and corruption was among the great causes of all problems bedeviling, tormenting and throwing our beloved and great Country into confusion, so we have to fear Allah and avoid it.
O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us, ameen.
And my respected people, anything good I have said in my today’s khutbah (sermon) is from Allah the Al-Mighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.
With this I conclude my khutbah (sermon) and ask Allah, the Almighty and the sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness. He is all forgiving Most Merciful.
This Jumu’ah khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today (Jumu’ah) Muharram 28, 1436 A.H. (November 21, 2014). By Imam Murtadha Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi Uvete Jumu’ah mosque Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 and [email protected]